Just before the Christmas rush starts to bite, I squeezed in a quick trip to Italy just in time for the olive harvest. We spent three days up, under and amongst the trees and gathered 164kg. Evenings, we took hours to carefully remove leaves, twigs and beetles. Then we took our bounty to the Oleificio Rosini olive press, where they have a special vibro-thingy machine which shook out all the dross for us after all, (ah industialisation how I love you...) and a slow grinding press that made us some oil that was vivid, grassy, delicious.
In between low key labouring (chatting) in the olive grove I sampled a fantastic liqueur, purely as part of Mother's ongoing commitment to her international alcohol cataloging project. It's research. Visciola, ruby jewel in the crown of Le Marche made from small sour wild cherries, wine and sugar. Bloomin' luverly.
If you are lucky enough to be able to get hold of these cherries and have about 2 months of sunshine on your hands, here you go...
Take equal weights of visciolo cherries and white sugar, place in a jar in the sunshine and leave for a couple of months. This will ferment, so allow for the escape of gas, otherwise the lid is likely to blow off. You could try one of those winemaking bungs. After a couple of months drain off the liquid and filter it through some fine muslin to clear it of sediment. Add equal parts white wine and bottle. Leave it another few weeks to a month in a cool dark spot just to settle in nicely and Bob's.
Continuing in the Italian vein, back in London I have been bottling and labelling the Christmas pudding spiced rum in readiness for the Eat or Heat benefit from an original recipe courtesy of Nat di Maggio's Italian dad.
The rum will be available by donation only at the piano recital at St Mary's Church in Walthamstow. The dried fruit that had been flavouring the rum has been now been used by the Aura Rosa bakers to make some drunken Christmas cakes. The cakes will be attending the recital to hear a little classical music and then be sold for charity.
Finally in celebration of the mighty olive;
The classic Martini
(courtesy of Kindred Cocktails)
2 1/2oz gin
1/2oz dery vermouth
1drop orange bitters
olive to garish
Stir, strain, up, cocktail glass, garnish with a twist or olive
Ratios of Gin to vermouth vary widely. Many enthusiasts prefer much more than the capful or whisper sometimes used. The inclusion of orange bitters is a relatively recent revival of an original ingredient. Use only good, fresh vermouth.